I loved the story. It is a story of a human, filled with his life’s joys and tragedies and many in-betweens. The author tells his own story of an armed robber and fugitive who found escape in Mumbai, India. He opens his soul to judgement in a vulnerable yet self-accepting way. Lin, the name of the main character, gives his best to the city which adopted him, curing slam dwellers in a free clinique he set up and serving mafia with skill and devotion.
To me, it is story of unmet childhood needs and choices as an adult. His longing for a father’s love, he never had as a child, makes him loyal to a mafia boss, up to the point of joining him on a deadly mission to Afghanistan. His love of a woman he meets in Mumbai – Karla – is unshared, as his heart is filled by regret and broken by so many wars he fought with heroin, addiction and violence he brought and suffered.
The author’s depiction of simple Indian men and women is heartwarming. He pays tribute to their traditions and customs with a delicacy and tact of a respectful guest in a country, which adopted him without a question about his past. It is the place which baptized him Shantaram – “man of peace”. “…they saw something in me that I didn’t know was there.”, said Roberts in an interview to BBC.
The author finishes the novel with the start of a new adventure, softly inviting the reader to open the sequel ” The Mountain Shadow”.